Marvin Gaye

Ain't That PeculiarMoods Of Marvin Gaye
Baby Don't You Do ItHow Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You
Can I Get A Witness?Greatest Hits (1964)
I Heard It Through The GrapevineIn The Groove
Let's Get It OnLet's Get It On
Mercy Mercy MeWhat's Going On
Sexual HealingMidnight Love
Trouble ManTrouble Man OST
What's Going OnWhat's Going On
You're All I Need To Get ByYou're All I Need


Marvin Gaye playlist



Contributor: Peter Viney

They’re on several greatest hits compilations, and every single and B-side is on the Complete Motown Singles box sets. Early ones were singles, so it’s somewhat deceptive to list the earliest Tamla-Motown LPs that contained two singles and fillers. The later compilations are invariably more rewarding. Can I Get A Witness? was a single-only release and didn’t appear on an album until 1964’s Greatest Hits.

Baby Don’t Do It has great covers by The Band, Rod Stewart with Steampacket and The Who, but none of them float like Marvin. It was a US single. I don’t think it was a UK single. Can I Get A Witness? was where most of us came in. I guess I met it through The Rolling Stones cover first of all. It was competing for a place in the list with How Sweet It Is, but as that can go in a Junior Walker Toppermost, I’ll take the earlier one.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine has been chosen in at least one poll as the greatest single of all time, a role in which it competes in polls with Bohemian Rhapsody and A Whiter Shade Of Pale. Ain’t That Peculiar isn’t far behind.

On the way to a Desert Island, I’d be happy if all I had was What’s Going On. It’s hailed as the first true soul album conceived as an album. It was so often our last record of the day that I suspect it outstrips everything in my collection in number of times played. I’m keeping it down to two tracks. Let’s Get It On would do as a substitute, but I’m not sure that the content would be good on your own on a desert island. Trouble Man edges out I Want You and Got To Give It Up, being very selective. Sexual Healing was his big hit return to form, and I find the Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper cover versions especially appealing.

While I’m on the superlatives, Marvin Gaye with orchestra and dancers was certainly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

With nine selected, I realized I had no duets. So it’s It Takes Two with Kim Weston, You Are Everything with Diana Ross or You’re All I Need To Get By with Tammi Terrell? Because of her tragic death, I feel Marvin himself would have chosen You’re All I Need To Get By, so that gets in, though maybe “Marvin Gaye Duets” is another Toppermost!


Marvin Gaye: The Original Trouble Man

Marvin Gaye biography (Apple Music)

Peter Viney has been an educational author and video scriptwriter since 1980. He has written articles on The Band, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. He also writes on popular music, theatre and film at his website.

TopperPost #38


  1. Ceri Taylor
    Nov 12, 2013

    As a point of interest, I noticed the other day that Universal have started putting out Blu-ray releases of their back catalogue. This includes Motown releases like Marvin’s What’s Going On and Stevie’s Songs in the Key of Life. Technically this should be the best audio you can get for these records (unless you own the masters!) – bear in mind though that you’d also need a decent sound system attached to a Blu-ray device in the first place! Personally, I’d have vinyl over any format but for some I know this might be of interest.

  2. Colin Duncan
    Dec 1, 2013

    Enjoyed this post. I still play Marvin Gaye regularly and recently I have been playing the three duets collection albums with Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross. I think the three tracks mentioned in your discussion, Peter, are great tracks and understand the reasoning behind your choice, but I would replace it with ‘Onion Song’, which is tremendous. I agree that there’s a good case for a Toppermost Marvin Gaye duets list. But what I didn’t know of until I started looking into it was the duets album ‘Together’ with Mary Wells, which was issued in 1964. At that time I would be into the Beatles, Stones, Kinks etc and buying singles.

  3. Peter Viney
    Dec 1, 2013

    I’d totally forgotten about Mary Wells duets when I was doing this one. The single was Once Upon A Time / What’s The Matter With You Baby? and they’re both on the Complete Motown Singles: 1964. I never liked Once Upon A Time (apparently, nor did Marvin) though it was a US R&B #3 hit / UK #50 hit. The B-side is a different matter, and I really should have remembered it as it’s heavily anthologized: What’s The Matter With You Baby? and it’s one I loved, a great call and response dialogue duet. It charted separately in the USA, going a place higher than the A side too. Definitely one that deserves to be in a “Duets” Toppermost and on its third play in a row here. I’d forgotten the “Together” album too … not currently on CD in the UK, by the look of it.

  4. Colin Duncan
    Dec 2, 2013

    You seem to be correct, Peter. The CD appears not to be available in the U.K. or I would have got it. Expensive imports available. I came across two tracks on YouTube, but I’ll relisten, listening carefully to ‘What’s the Matter with You Baby?’

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